What’s the first thing a consumer will encounter when coming across your startup business? Its name of course.
Your startup business’ name will depict what a customer thinks of your business before he ever knows what your company has to offer. A name isn’t just a name, but a representation of every product or service you and your business have to offer. It should be simple, yet unforgettable. Strong and valuable. It should embody your company’s mission as a whole and be intriguing to every prospective customer.
Naming your startup business can be a complex and sometimes stressful process, especially since the name of your startup is not just essential, but crucial to your business’ success. It’s important that you choose carefully while deciding on a name. Let’s discuss some critical points to consider when naming your startup.
1. Keep It Short and Simple
Think about the saying, “Slow and steady wins the race,” except replace ‘slow’ and ‘steady’ with the words ‘short’ and ‘simple.’ When a name is short and simple, it’s easier for customers to remember and allows for less confusion. If your business name is a mouth full, clients will avoid saying it simply because it’s just too much to say.
The idea of keeping your business name short doesn’t mean to have a long name, but go by an acronym. Acronyms and abbreviations, though short and simple, don’t resonate with the consumer. Try sticking with a two-syllable name, like Apple or Uber, that is easy for the consumer to recall and repeat later on.
2. Avoid Hard to Spell Words
Imagine telling a potential client about your startup business and he writes down the incorrect spelling. When he gets home and searches your business name (with the spelling he has written), nothing comes up. Not only will you not be able to receive this customer’s business, but you have now wasted his time and he will still be without the product or service you were consulting him about.
Unusual spellings, however unique are sometimes unproductive and extraneous. You want customers to be able to find your startup online and portray confidence when sharing it with others. If you stay with traditional spellings, you can avoid lost revenue and having to constantly correct the misspelled version of your startup name.
3. Use a Name That Conveys Meaning
You don’t want a customer to read your business name and wonder, ‘What is that?’ You want your target audience to be able to form some sort of idea as to what your startup has to offer right off the bat. It should be apparent and tell the client a little bit about you and/or your product or service. If you keep them guessing it makes it easier for prospective clients to overlook your business because they are unsure as to how it may benefit them. A name that is informative, clear, and strong will help you the most in building your brand name.
4. Conduct a Trademark Search/Make Sure the Domain Is Available
Nothing would be worse than settling on a name and later on coming to find out that it is already Trademarked or attached to another business. If a business name isn’t Trademarked, but still pops up with another company when the name is Googled, you should be hesitant to use that name. It could affect the traffic of your target audience and will make it difficult for you to become established while in competition with a business with the same name.
Once you’ve decided on a name, you will want to create your domain. Most of the time you will want your startup’s name and the domain for your startup to be the same. You may run into a situation where your preferred business name isn’t Trademarked, but when you go to set up your domain, that domain name is already taken. Avoid obstacles like this and do your research to make sure that both are available before marketing the name of your startup business.
To view everything that has ever been Trademarked, visit the United State Patent and Trademark Office.
5. Be Unforgettable
No one likes boring! Be original—you really want your business name to stick out in a consumer’s mind. It should immediately spark their interest and be catchy. To do this, you have to really work a customer’s senses and make them feel attached to your startup business just by reading the name. You want to put an image in their head so that way they can form a connection with your brand name. If you know your target audience and their interests, you should try to appeal specifically to that crowd. Be sure to ask the questions: Who am I trying to appeal to? How old are they? What do they like? With the answers to these questions, crafting an unforgettable name that suits your audience will be a breeze.
6. Use Name Brainstorming Resources
Encountering a bit of writer’s block? That’s okay—there are resources to help. As long as you know what your business offers, you can use tools like a business name generator on Shopify or Name Mesh, where you can enter a keyword and it will recommend a business name. Even if the generator doesn’t provide a name that you are particularly stuck on, it’s likely that it will suggest something that allows you to build a bridge to a business name that you do love.
7. Avoid Limiting Names
The ultimate goal of every startup business is to grow. Don’t box yourself in with a name that may potentially restrict your business. The name of your company should be relevant to your product, but not so relevant that you can’t branch out later. You never want to choose a name that is overly specific as to what your startup offers; rather, it should simply give your customers a general idea of your services. For instance, say you were to open up a shoe store and name it “Queen’s Shoes,” but down the road you decide you want to start selling clothes as well. Anyone who only encounters the name of your business would have no idea that your brand offers more than just shoes. Think broad!
8. Secure the “.com” Domain
Credibility is key! Make sure to secure your preferred domain name, particularly with the .com suffix. Unfortunately, .org, .net, and .biz domain extensions are just not as strong as the usual .com. In some cases, your preferred domain will already be taken. Consider finding the owner of the domain and inquiring about purchasing it from them before settling on an alternate suffix. Having a .com domain extension may cost you slightly more than other options, but if you view it as a business investment, it will be money well spent.
9. Make Sure It Sounds Good When Said
Does your startup name have a ring to it? When you read it, it sounds good. When you write it, it sounds good. But what about when you say it out loud?
You want your business name to be easily pronounced and able to roll off the tongue without hesitation. No tongue-tying, no complicated letter combinations, no easily-forgettable acronyms and it should sound just like it is spelled. If people are showing interest in your product or service as soon as your business name is mentioned, you’re on the right track.
10. Get Feedback
Narrow your name choice down to a handful of options and then run it by family, friends, or colleagues and see what their thoughts are on every name. This way you can ask specific questions concerning each one and not worry about scaring away prospective clients with unusual enquiries. Though, it is also very important that you sample your business name to your target audience. When introducing your business to the target audience using a potential name, you can judge the name’s impact by the initial interaction with the client; doing this, you know the response is genuine. Getting feedback from all aspects is useful and you want to consider every opinion when trying to decide on your startup name, as it will forever represent you and your business.
A Little Bonus: Are YOU Happy With It?
After all, the business name that you choose will be with you for a very long time, so, if anything, you want to be sure that you are personally happy with it. You will read it a lot, you will write it a lot, and you will say it even more. You want your business name to be something you cherish and are thrilled to say every time you come into contact with another person. Choose a name that is meaningful to you and that you will value for a lifetime to come.
Written by Alexis Cunningham